KFC has largely grabbed attention over the last few years with marketing stunts like the KFC smartphone and the fried chicken bath bomb. But, much like McDonald’s is adding fresh beef and White Castle is banking on the Impossible Burger, America’s most iconic fried chicken joint is also eyeing some changes to its menu — starting with vegetarian fried chicken.
Foodbeast got confirmation that KFC is, indeed, experimenting with a vegetarian version — which will be tested in the UK with a possible launch in 2019, if testers embrace it. The recipe, beyond the Colonel’s eleven herbs and spices, is being kept under wraps, but as most vegetarian “fried chicken” recipes use seitan or a similar wheat gluten product, those seem like likely candidates. (Hey, they could give away buckets and, instead of it being gluten-free, call it free gluten!)
The main question is: Will people go for a vegetarian product from the colonel? It’s undeniably worth developing if for no other reason than animal protein is expensive and environmentally messy to produce. But good intentions don’t necessarily move products, and it’s not clear yet whether a move into vegetarians and vegan foods really works for fast food places best known for their meat (though the Impossible Burger remains the best seller at Umami Burger). Among all fast food chains, KFC seems like a likely candidate to succeed. Often what we think of as “meat” is less the flavor of the food and more the seasoning. So if it crunches like the Colonel, and is seasoned like the real thing, then that’s half the battle right there.